Friday, August 31, 2007

We keep fighting the same battles...

For those of you wondering why we liberals are always speaking out against those who rape the environment - for those of you who say you've done enough to heal the earth... um...

Read this piece of shit.

It looks like people are still trying to get Exxon to pay the fine for their abomination in Prince William Sound - NEARLY TWO DECADES AGO!

The reason we have to keep fighting the same battles is because this is what happens what you turn your back for a minute, these assholes get off the hook! Now, do you understand why they keep polluting? Because it doesn't cost them a fucking penny! And they are using our justice system to make sure of it!

Now let's hope you weren't so naive that you didn't know that.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Try cholera!...

It’s been about a year since Megan died.

The world is not a better place without her.

I found myself reading Climbing Maya the other day, a book that uses Megan as kind of an emotional center and, in which, I tell about her memorial service. I couldn’t read that without starting to cry again. This from a woman who thought very little of me – go figure. Megan struggled against leukemia for over half a decade and that was a very long time. I can’t help but feel though, in my heart, in the hearts of all who knew her, that she left too soon.

Megan, we miss you.

But this blog is not about her. Fooled ya.

Actually, I can’t help but think about Megan because it’s a year later and I’m dealing with more people being diagnosed with cancer. As this week started, my friend Becky, who I knew at Linksys, had to go in for an emergency hysterectomy after she was diagnosed. And that wasn’t the worst of it. Blanche, who is easily the most wonderful (step)mother a person could ever have, went in for a biopsy just yesterday.

I honestly don’t know what I’m going to do if she’s sick. I can imagine my mom and dad passing away; I can visualize that loss. But Blanche’s death is an inky, black emptiness I can’t even begin to comprehend.

What is it with these people? I mean, seriously, how rude are they!?

Okay, not seriously. But I would really like to know what’s going on with all the people in my life getting diagnosed. Is it an age thing? I know that, as I get older, more people I know will die, but – geez – can’t they do it through extreme old age?

I just hope no one else gets diagnosed. Be original, folks! Try cholera! (That’s the new, official slogan for One Path… for this week, at least.)

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Sans-wich…

Welcome to Fasting Day 2.0.

It’s nearly time to go home and I’m writing this surprisingly free from any discomfort. Fasting last week was a constant reminder of what I was doing without. This week ain’t so bad. Granted, I do get tastes in my mouth the way people get songs going through their head. A while ago, it was spicy tuna roll… yummmm…. At the moment – or, at least, until I just wrote that – it’s last night’s chicken, which I seared and then coated with a homemade tomato/barbeque sauce and baked for 20 minutes. The chicken stays very moist and it’s incredibly easy to make without a bunch of processed junk.

I’m sorry. Where was I? Oh, yes. I’m not thinking about food as much.

Fasting isn’t nearly as difficult as I thought but very fulfilling, ironically enough. Not only does it help me relate to my world more directly – I’m not so preoccupied with what I’ll eat in a few hours – it also helps me think clearer about the food I’ll eat after. For instance, last Thursday, rather than make a pig of myself, I actually found myself eating less because I understood I didn’t need as much. By the weekend, I was once again horribly overfed but fasting did provide me with a more attuned mental state.

This is all very strange to me, though. If someone had told me that I would be doing this, even as recently as a few months ago, I would think them strange. But many priorities are changing and I think some of that has to do with my dad’s fading health and the idea that Vicky may soon be pregnant… yes, by me. I mean, I’ll always love ice cream but I think I’m becoming less obsessed by it, which has to be a good thing.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

From all sides…

I defy anyone to buy an American made pair of hiking boots at a retail store. It can’t be done. Seriously. And I’m talking about North American – not just the U.S. They just don’t exist! About 99% of hiking boots are made in China these days and I hope the irony of enjoying the countryside while the shipping of your shoes helped pollute the Earth doesn’t escape anyone. But I told Vicky I wasn’t going to falter; I will find shoes made (relatively) locally… eventually. It’s all about using the Internet and using the phone… or so I’m hoping. Last weekend, I spent hours walking through South Coast Plaza and its many offshoots to find shoes. Not finding them didn’t mean it was a waste of time; think of the exercise!

Anyway, this entry is going to be a bit scattered. That’s just how my life has been.

I did go hiking on Sunday, wearing my old boots. My old boots were made in Hungary, by the way, which still means they were shipped from overseas. On the plus side, I’ve had them for about a decade, so I figure I’ve gotten some use out of them. The best part of my search is when I talk to people in the stores. Pretty much all of them think you should buy local… they just can’t sell me anything local. Oh well.

Hey, if I’m on a one-man journey to help enlighten a world with nearly seven billion people, if I’m tilting at windmills, well… I figure there are worst ways to spend your time.

Anyway, I did go hiking on Sunday, out to the San Juan Loop Trail. It’s a small, beginner’s trail I’ve done many times, with others and alone. I figured it would be a good way to start out. The nice thing about this trail used to be the waterfalls you passed and the creek you hiked beside. But drought conditions down here are so bad that there’s no longer any water. The waterfalls are just rocky outcrops and the creek is just a dirty trail. I took pictures to post… but I realized I couldn’t. It would be like posting pictures of my raped mother. No thanks. I prefer to remember the beauty of what was. The land I hiked through Sunday morning was dry and barren, a tinder box just waiting to go up. Very sad.

Vicky and I went out to breakfast when I returned home. We’ve been eating out a little too much lately. Sunday morning, we returned to Polly’s Pies and I think I have Vicky hooked. She likes it. They serve this enormous cinnamon roll with breakfast as an alternative to toast and I’ll take that! It’s all cinnamonie and sweet and yummmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm… Last night, we hit Kings Fish House, which is just fucking terrific if you have one near you. My god. We got some sweet sushi, some terrific beer, and a blackened catfish that was nearly perfect (not spicy enough, though). Me likey.

Too bad my whole night couldn’t have been like that.

I honestly try to remember that life is not all peaches and cream. That you have to take the good with the bad. Yin/Yang. Sweet/Sour. Ice Cream/Turpentine.

Where was I?

My dad’s health is not really improving and I just found out yesterday that two people I know may have cancer. One of those people is Blanche, who I feel closer to than my own parents. So, my breath stopped when I heard that. I’m dealing with the possibility of my dad dying but I don’t know what I’d do…

Thus the name of this blog entry. Because, in addition to everything else, there’s school and withdrawal pains I’m having after just a few days of not writing and our approaching anniversary and our trip to Cabo (which is approaching but FAR TOO SLOWLY!) – and that’s life. It’s three dimensional. It comes at you from all sides.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Wanting to have it…

I went on a shopping spree yesterday. I went to three malls and over a dozen stores.

I spent a whopping: $0.00

Here’s the thing, I’m looking for something particular. Some things, actually. I would like to buy some new ties, which is always a chore because I am very particular about my ties. I also want to buy some mid-range hiking boots, but I’m trying to stay away from thing made in China… and they all are, it seems. But that won’t stop me from continuing the search.

At one point, I was in Macy’s and found this really great t-shirt. That might be contradictory, “really great t-shirt”, but let’s just assume for a minute that it’s true.

I really don’t need any t-shirts. I just wanted to have the t-shirt.

This intrigued me – just wanting to have something.

I think that’s a problem a lot of us have. We don’t buy what we need – we even stray from things we want – and often buy things we just want to have. I can’t begin to tell you how horrid this is to me, this extreme form of greed, probably indicative of western life.

So, I’m going to try and be a little more aware of when I need things or want things or just want to have things and try to stay away from buying things just because I want to have them.

… we’ll see how that goes.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Fifteen….


Okay, now. Seriously. Cut it the fuck out.


I’m tired. I need a break.

But there was a reason why I had to finish Daughter of a One-Armed Man and not just because it’s a good book and I like the title. … though those are very good reasons. The reason I haven’t mentioned is that I wanted Vicky to know that I’ve been more inspired to write more books in the time I’ve been with her (that’s eight in just over three years) than in all the years I was with what's her name (seven in fifteen years). Vicky often plays “One Up The Ex” and this was no different.

So, yes, I’ve done it. I’ve finished the first draft of my 15th novel. It’s a book about love, of course, but mostly it shows what happens when people forget that disregard has no place in love. That includes disregard for yourself, for your lover, for family, children, neighbors, and even planet. For how can we say we love our children while we poison them? We can’t. What happens? Watch the news.

Yes, it’s a fable and it’s a morality tale and it’s just about the most complete book I’ve ever written. It has romance, comedy, pathos, and a topicality cut so deep it might be hard to read. But it’s also a story of hope, a story of what can be done even if it’s on a small scale. It may be supremely naïve – a story about how love, real love, is the only thing that can save us – but the cynic in me says we’re fucked any other way you look at it.

And so, I’m done. And I make you this promise. No more novels for at least a year.

You heard me. I am finished writing novels and I will not write any more for at least a year. In the meantime, I plan to devote more of my energy to actually selling one of these mother fuckers… dammit.

So, let’s party. Let’s enjoy.

Let’s rest.

(Oh, and if you read One Path just for the writing news, don't go away. Just cause I'm not writing novels doesn't mean I'm not selling them... or so I hope...)

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Fasting Day…

You’re going to have to forgive the glut of blog entries. Our Internet connection was down last night and, so, we haven’t had a chance to post. And, yes, but “we” I mean “me”… fuck grammar.

Anyway, our Internet connection was down because – SOMEONE STOLE IT! You heard me right. Someone hijacked our wireless router and shut us the fuck out. But this is not an entirely bad thing. I’m going out tonight and will buy (should have by the time you read this, really) a new Wireless-N network, upgrading into better security, etc., but especially better security. Also, I have the bastards IP address so I’ll be blocking them out.

And that’s only part of Fasting Day.

Yes, that’s right. Today is Fasting Day. As you might have heard me mention, I’ve picked one day – today – and am on a water fast. You’re probably thinking I was hungry this morning, hungry by lunch, and have been hungry all afternoon. You would be right. In fact, I figure I’ll be hungry all night.

So, why fast? What’s the point?

The point is that we lived in a spoiled country and we are totally blind to how spoiled we are. Most people in the world go hungry. Most people in the world go without. For one day each week, at least for a while, my plan is to live like the rest of the world. That’s been called strange but there are many people who fast. Many of the world’s religions encourage fasting. The only reason my fasting is strange is because, well, I don’t have to do it.

I don’t have the lunacy of religion as an excuse. Just empathy. Scary.

I’ve been surprised at how much it’s already opened my eyes. We are, in the west, surprisingly surrounded by food. I’m at work and I’ve been running into food all day. It’s amazing what I don’t even recognize on a normal day – food is everywhere and yet so much of the world and so many in our own country go hungry.

Here’s something else that I’ve found interesting. Time slows when you fast. And not just a little. I can’t imagine combining fasting with meditation because my day has seriously crawled by and I’m busy at work. I think the reason for this is we segment our day looking forward to our next meal. What will we have for lunch? What’s for dinner? What can I have for a snack? I guess that’s one way I break up my day and today, without food to look forward to, has been glacial in pace. It’s really amazing.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m seriously looking forward to breakfast tomorrow. But, until then, I’m fine. A little hungry, sure. But fine.

(Since I wrote this, I had to endure the Fry's Impulse Aisle. For those who know what I'm talking about, I made it through without eating a thing. Will Power, Babay!)

First day at school…

You’re probably wondering about my first day at school.

Well, after my mommy dropped me off and we cried, I…

Then again, why don’t I tell you about my first day back at college, my first day in my Junior year… which should last several dozen months… This being my first semester back, Vicky and I both thought it would be good to start slow. I signed up for something familiar: Philosophical Argumentation and Writing. After nearly fifteen novels, it would be embarrassing to fail that class!

With last night being the first night of class, I parked amidst the sea of cars and, having given myself plenty of time in case I ran late, found myself intolerably early. With over a half hour until class, what was I to do? Well, I figured I might as well head on over to the classroom. After all, the walk might take some time and – I found myself at the entrance to the building in less than five minutes. Okay… what now? There certainly were a lot of people there – young people. Cute chicks who might think, “You’re my daddy’s age,” and young guys thinking they could knock me over and take my money while my hip broke.

Yeah, it’s great going back to school at this age.

My classroom is on the fifth floor so I had to queue up for the elevator. Next time, I’ll be sure not to go in the shoes with the slippery soles so I can take the stairs without worrying about falling and, of course, breaking my hip. The queue was immense and there were only a few elevators. People crammed into them the way you might have seen residents of India boarding a commuter train. When I finally found my way in – actually pushed by the mass of people – I seriously thought, “There’s no way this is going to make it.” And yet, it did somehow, in the way you don’t expect elevator accidents on your way to class. Had this been an office building or a department store, I’m sure we would have died in an instant. I kept hoping someone would get off the elevator on the second, third, or fourth floors – but, no. In fact, nobody got off on the fifth floor but me. Actually, most of the elevator de-boarded as I said, “Excuse me, this is my floor” and then, grudgingly, got back on to proceed to six. I hoped they were getting off their. I didn’t seriously think the elevator would shoot through the roof on the way to Wonka’s factory. At least, I didn’t see a red button.

Anyway, I was glad to be in the relatively open expanse of the fifth floor hallway – that is, until I saw all the “fresh paint” signs. Someone, undeniably NOT a college grad and undeniably NOT giving a shit, had painted the enclosed hallway just minutes before so the fumes hung heavily in the hall and no one dared move within a foot of a wall. That way, madness lay… and paint-stained purses, I expect. I can’t honestly say no one dared moved within a foot of the wall because – I did. When I found my classroom, I looked at my watch and, seeing I had twenty minutes to go until class began, leaned against the opposing wall.

And jumped back.

I looked at the wall. I looked at my clothes. Again, I looked at the wall. No paint. At all. It turned out that the one area that hadn’t been painted was across from my classroom. Imagine that – and I could have played the lottery, instead.

The classroom had two doors. One read “Lecture”. The other read “Classroom”. I thought, does is make a difference which door you enter like some Alice in Wonderland – or Alice Goes To College – kind of world?

I entered the door for Lecture, preferring a good nap any day, and found only one person within. I asked, “Is this Philosophy 315?”

He looked up. “Hrrrm?”

I repeated the question, adding, “Philosophical Argumentation and Writing?”

He said, “Oh, the English class and stuff? Yeah.” And went back to being baked.

This was going to be interesting.

I won’t bore you with the details of the class, suffice it to say it actually is an “English class and stuff” – that is, it is a philosophical writing course with an emphasis on proper grammar (god forbid). As the class closed, the instructor asked people about the best thing they’d done all summer. Here were some responses. You can imagine my amusement… and envy.

“I saw Poison. It was epic!”

“I drank…………………………… a lot.”

“I slept over ten hours each day.”

Yeah. This will be fun.

Food and Boots…

(Keep in mind, this was written yesterday...)

Tonight’s my first day of school and, as you can probably guess, I’m a little nervous. So, rather than write about today, I thought I’d take a little trip into the future.

Tomorrow is going to be my first fasting day and I think it’ll be interesting to see how that goes. My doctor says it’s okay to water-fast, which is fasting while still drinking water, since I’m a pretty healthy guy… I said “healthy”… okay, fat. She just warned me to keep some quick food nearby in case I get light-headed or weak. Check.

I was actually there for a wart on my hand. I waited nearly two hours to see her about that and found out I can treat it at home. Okaaaaaay. So, while I had her, I figured I might as well take up some more of her time. I got a prescription to get tested for Tay-Sachs, which has nothing to do with my sacks, thank you. Tay-Sachs is a very rare birth defect found in French Canadians and Jews and – since my mother is French Canadian and may even be part Jewish (more than apparent thanks to her black belt in guilt) – getting tested wouldn’t be a bad idea. The condition is rare but highly mother-fucking fatal. No thanks.

And I talked to her about fasting, which she thinks is a good idea… in theory… she thinks I’m crazy, of course.

I waited two hours for that.

While I waited, I read a bunch of magazines I would not ordinarily look at. In the mountain of mags was a backpacking magazine. Now, I love hiking and backpacking. I’ve just never been fortunate enough to be with a woman who loved it as much as me. As I read this magazine, I felt my temperature rise at the thought that I can’t go hiking because Vicky won’t go.

And that’s just not right.

I can go. When I was single, I went hiking alone. So, why not go again?

Well, because I hate my boots. They should have been made by Audi (or Hummer, those of you not into the subtle), they’re so big, which is fine for a weekend trip but not for a day hike. What I wanted, I realized, was a new pair of boots – and that’s only fair considering mine are a decade old anyway – so I could go hiking.

Right about now is the perfect time to start hiking again. The hottest part of summer will soon wind down and we’ll have six months of hiking time until winter hits. Then, I’ll need to stop for winter… for a week or so…

Somewhere between school and work, by golly, I’m gonna do this!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Vague wisdom while you're waking up...

HOPE FLOATS AND SO DO CHERIOS...

I haven't a clue what this means but I assure you it's not just a veiled reference to the Sandra Bullock film.

Monday, August 20, 2007

CSI in the OC

I had my Saturday morning all planned out. Ken and I were going to my parents to take a birthday cake to my mom. I had a few errands to do in the morning, then I could do a little laundry and we’d be on the road.

First on my list was picking up my new SIGG Water Bottle from REI. No problem there, I got my new water bottle and was on my way to my next appointment. I needed to go back to the 55 Freeway North, so I took the necessary route. I was stopped behind a line of cars at a red light, when all of the sudden BOOM! I looked to my right and my passenger window was shattered…and there was a small “bullet-hole” at the top right corner of the window!

OMG…someone out there shot at me and my car!

I did a quick check of myself and didn’t see any injuries, so I made it to the parking lot of a liquor store and called the police. A few minutes later, several officers were in the parking lot and walking the area. They spent about an hour searching my car and it was concluded that it was one or two BB guns that shot the rounds that injured my poor car. Unfortunately, for my car (and me) that was enough to obliterate my passenger window.

I got my case number from the police and drove my poor car home. I got a new window and a nice detail, to make sure all the glass was cleaned out of my car. Now, hopefully the police will find the responsible person(s). Whether they do or don't, I sure won't be driving in that area for awhile.

My dinner with Vicky…

After getting shot at – I’ll let Vicky tell you that little story – Vicky and I decided to enjoy a quite dinner at her mother’s restaurant. Too bad that wasn’t going to happen.

The idea was that we’d get there, present my ma-in-law with her birthday cake, and chow down on some fine grub.

That was my idea, at least. Vicky’s idea was slightly different. It included blowing her mom away with a custom cake made to look like sushi… which wasn’t her mom’s idea. Her mom’s idea was tucking into a lovely, little pineapple upside-down cake a friend had baked her. It wasn’t that the sushi cake was no good (though I didn’t really get to taste enough of it to tell – not that I’m complaining… dammit) but that we all have our own expectations, our own plans, and they don’t always meet.

Believe me.

After several hours of waiting and delays and waiting and talking and delays, I finally got Vicky to sit down and eat. I was starving! I was dying for my sushi, something you’d never hear me say before Vicky came along! We started out with a little salad. This was followed up by a steamed rice, shrimp ball… thing. It was good! Don’t get me wrong! I just couldn’t tell you for the life of me what it’s called. After that, came the beef yakiniku (I think I got that right), a marinated beef I would probably kill for. If you don’t know Japanese cuisine, these all came out in small servings, on little plates. I was still starving!

Then, our sushi – our everluvin, mother-fuckin sushi – arrived! Spicy tuna roll! Ah, spicy tuna roll, I bow before your eminence! Crunch roll! Ah, crunch roll, I would shave my head to have more of you! (And we better make that soon because I’m getting all my hair cut off this Saturday, anyway!) And then, Crunchy Shrimp roll.

… Vicky saw my face when I had my first bite and told her mother that I wanted to marry her. If, by “marry”, you mean “chain her up to a sushi counter with a feeding tube and another tube at the other end and a machine in her head that has her do nothing but make Crunchy Shrimp roll like my own zombified slave” then, sure, I’ll “marry” her. My ma-in-law said, “Too bad.” So much for that idea.

When we finished our three rolls, Vicky announced she was stuffed. She couldn’t eat another bite. She…

I was still hungry.

Steve, my da-in-law, was sitting next to us, drinking his beer and Vicky asked me, “Are you saying you could eat more? Really? You could really eat more?”

My options: a) admit I was a pig in front of my da-in-law, who has already mentioned that he thinks I’ve been packing on the tonnage, b) deny ever having the thought, and c) kill everyone in the restaurant and chain my ma-in-law up to a sushi counter with a feeding tube and another tube at the other end and a machine in her head that has her do nothing but make Crunchy Shrimp roll like my own zombified slave.

“Hungry?” I replied. “Oh no. Not me. I’m fine.”

I was starving.

God dammit.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Priorities, folks! Priorities…

Is it any wonder the world can’t understand us Americans? I’m one of you and I can’t understand us!

So, for more than a decade, we as a nation have been starving the people of Iraq, denying them medicine, and prohibiting anyone else from coming to their defense. Then, for the past half decade or so, we have been actively slaughtering them by the thousands, wounding hundreds of thousands of them, destroying what little infrastructure they have left – basically, making their lives a fucking hell.

… and then, there’s this story.

Apparently, someone found a starving baby in a dumpster.

OH MY GOD! HOW COULD THAT HAPPEN?! THOSE BARBARIC IRAQIS!!!!

…um, we’re the ones who have been starving them, shooting them, bombing them…

So, basically, what the fuck, people?

Friday, August 17, 2007

Celebrating my One Week Anniversary with ambeR rubarth...

And you get the presents!

(Okay, so that was a rip off an ad I wrote while I was at Linksys. Excuse me!)

Yes, it was one week ago when I first discovered ambeR (I can't help it; that's how she spells her name!). In addition to downloading her most recent EP, I found a FREE download of a show she did recently.

And here it is for your enjoyment!

Yes, you can learn to hate her the way you did Grandaddy. (A moment of silence, please.) Remember this is a FREE download, which means you send me money.

... what?

Candy cigarettes, stress, and me…

So, I’m sitting at my desk… and I’m smoking.

You know, I’m old enough to remember the days when we smoked at work, when it was fully acceptable and, in fact, nobody would try to stop you from doing it. You would have an ashtray at your desk and you would smoke – all you wanted.

So, I’m sitting at my desk. Vicky recently gave me a pack of candy cigarettes. I have one in my mouth. And I’m smoking. I am tricking my brain into thinking it’s a real cigarette. I can feel the same rush of nicotine that you get from a real smoke. I’m a veteran of this kind of trickery; when I was a kid, I learned that pretending to eat popcorn at a movie actually made you feel full of popcorn. People say the brain is an amazing piece of machinery but I say it’s not that smart.

… mine isn’t, at least.

I have a stupid brain.

God dammit.

I needed a smoke because, all of a sudden, several minutes ago, all the stress of my week caught up to me. My dad’s sick. I’m starting school. I haven’t finished this book. I have a crazy family. My job is getting seriously difficult and these people still expect me to do it. And on and on. None of this makes me sad or depressed in any way – I’m actually quite satisfied (which is not to say that I don’t feel bad about my dad but I do feel satisfied in our relationship) – but it does irritate and I just wish for one minute things would stop. Just one minute each day. A pause. A breather. A moment where everything in the universe comes to a halt and we can experience the empty bliss of non-being. Then, things would start again and we could move on.

… could one of you work on that?

Meanwhile, I’m going to light another candy cigarette.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Personally, I hate it when I get serious…

So, I'm sitting at my desk and I'm eating organic raisins.

Let me repeat that because I think it's important. I'm eating organic raisins.

Organic raisins.

What the fuck?

So, I can't help wonder why I would even want to eat organic raisins and it occurs to me that the obvious answer is because they are good for me, they make me healthy, and it's a good thing to eat. And, man, do I hate it when I'm all grown up and mature.

Then, it occurs to me that what I'm trying to do here is become healthier. After all, I reason, isn't the point to be the best Ken I can be?

Again, hating all this growupedness.

Still, in all seriousness, isn't that why I try to write the best I can, do the best job I can at work, be the best husband I can be, etc. etc.? To be the best Ken possible?

Listen, I know I'm not perfect. I'm overweight. I smoke on occasion. I don't do nearly enough chores around the house – just ask Vicky. But if you're looking for a purpose in life, I can't think of one that is much better. Don't we all want to excel at what we're doing, and isn't life the ultimate thing we're doing?

I've wrestled for years with this question. It has been clear to me for years that we're not here simply to have fun or be happy. Listen, it's a good goal but with so many ways to approach it, it's hardly a virtuous one. But being a better person, living a better life – helping out with the chores a little more, getting in better shape, cutting back on the smokes, helping others, being more compassionate – that sounds like a good direction. I'm not talking about being perfect; that's an impossible goal. But knowing that you're doing something to help make you a better person, even eating organic raisins, feels good doing it, before you even get the positive results, and that's gotta help make you happy, too.

And maybe I won't do it, maybe I'll have off days, but any attempt is better than none at all.

Is this the most original thought? Probably not. But I think if we don't think about that on a daily basis – how can I be a better person? – then it's just too easy to fall into apathy. And apathy about your own life is just plain sad.

So, I'm eating my organic raisins. I've also packed away some carrots and some grapes. I'm enjoying eating these light, healthy lunches. Recently, I've found myself falling away from a Ken who was once trying to be healthier and these lunches remind me that I am capable of eating healthy.

I also have a small bag of Fritos, to remind me how good it is to be a little bad, too.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Faster…

So, as I might have mentioned, I’m reading the I Chong, a surprisingly good book – which is not to say that I’m surprised it is readable, given the author, but rather that my expectations were such that I didn’t see a book this good coming. As I near the end, I happened upon a passage where he discusses fasting, which he did while he was in prison.

So, when I tell you I’m considering fasting every Monday, you know I completely stole it from him.

Still, there’s something about the idea I like. Vicky and I usually spend our weekends going out or making some grand dinner and snacking – oh, the snacking! So, maybe taking every Monday to fast might be a good thing to put my body back in order. In addition, I’ve been thinking it might be helpful as a grounding tool. I used to be a vegetarian (more or less) and found that helped ground me, a little. Now, I tend to have meat only at dinner time, which I’m liking because it makes you wait for fulfillment. Waiting for fulfillment is especially important in a day when we are taught we should be totally fulfilled NOW. Like I said, grounding.

So, I thought I’d put a post up and see if anyone has any information about fasting, any stories, insights, limericks – you know, whatever.

Don’t worry. If I do decide to fast next week, I’ll write all about it. And I promise to do it very slowly, so as not to hurt myself.

Concert Night #2…

(What? No poetry?)

Sunday night, Vicky and I went to my second show of the weekend. This show she had won tickets to from KLOS, and a big Thanks goes to them. So, we drove to the Pacific Amphitheater to see Thin Lizzy, Blue Oyster Cult, and Deep Purple!

It was the Monsters of Really Old Rock Tour

Oy.

It turned out that neither of us had ever been to the Pacific Amphitheater before. It also turned out we weren’t missing anything.

We walked up to the first attendant we saw and asked where our seats were. “Other side of the theater,” he said. “You’ll have to walk around. Either way is fine.” Great. So, we walked. The next attendant told us to keep going. The next attendant told us to keep going. And the next attendant told us to keep going.

We got so exhausted, we stopped for margaritas. (Yea Margaritas!)

Then, we walked to the next attendant… who turned out to be the first one we spoke to. “How do we get to our seat from here,” I asked, “because we’re going in no matter what you tell us.”

It took a while to get to our seats. Part of this was because they were pretty far away. They weren’t far up… like normal… no, these were far down. In the pit! Two chairs from the stage!

Yes! Rock on!!!

The first band came out. Turned out Thin Lizzy couldn’t make it. The boys were definitely not back in town. Instead, out came The Edgar Winter Group. I’ll start with “Yes, he did have a couple of hits” and I’ll finish with “His name is Edgar and he’s 73 years old so, really, what do you expect?”

Now, I don’t know if it was Edgar or the margarita that was giving me reflux, or if it was the way the seats were packed in, four per inch, I just hoped the next band would be…

Blue Oyster Cult! Yes! Sweet! I worshipped these dudes back in the early 80’s. Burning For You was one of my favorite songs ever! I was in the presence of…

Um… old dudes…

Meanwhile, I have to point out what Vicky pointed out to me. Over to our left, about ten seats over, some parents had brought their two sons, about ten years old or so. Both of them had these looks of shock on their faces. “You used to listen to dudes who look like my Principal and play this shit?” It was priceless! And then, there was the guy in his twenties sitting just ahead of us, this Brendan Fraser wannabe, who danced to every conceivable sound in the place. Hey, I understand having a good time but do you need to dance to that guy’s flatulence?

Anyway, BOC closed with the worst rendition I’ve ever heard – and let’s remember that I worked as a Karaoke DJ for a while, okay? – and that was enough for me. Anyway, I’ve never been a Deep Purple fan.

… and this is the part where you get to call me a dick. Vicky’s favorite color is Purple. Okay? She left, but you could see her thinking, “I could have married a younger, less gassy, more tolerant, better looking man who wouldn’t write this up on our blog… dammit.”

Monday, August 13, 2007

These words just come by themselves...

I wrote a poem yesterday and, as with all my poems of the last decade or so, they were more song lyrics than anything else. A smarter man would get back in a band but I'm just posting them here. The title was "Better When You Blur", about how we project a person's qualities onto them and how much easier it often is when their true selves don't show through. I don't know if you've ever know anyone like that - but, obviously, I have.

I have another one today. It started out as a poem about Vicky and I at the beach. Then, I started thinking about how any future we had in mind for ourselves is totally gone and the future we see totally probably won't happen. We have no idea what the future holds.

Granted, that may not be what the poems says...




You make me want to see the shore
And walk along without my shoes
And watch the ocean kiss my feet
And feel the water on my toes
It’s in that place when I’m with you and when my present comes unglued
It doesn’t matter where you are as long as you’re not very far
My life is colored grey with slate. I don’t consider it my fate.

The future we once had together
When we always had forever
The future we could hold in time
When nothing couldn’t be more fine
The future we once had together

Sometimes I’ll stand out in the yard
And watch the stars shine like your eyes
Imagining you’re in my arms
And think I feel your breath so fine
It’s in that place when I’m with you and when my present comes unglued
It doesn’t mean you’re not away but when you’re here then I’m okay
My memories are wearing thin but I’ll hold on to holding them.

The future we once had together
When we always had forever
The future we could hold in time
When nothing couldn’t be more fine
The future we once had together

It’s in that place when decades break and seconds seem to be forsaked
An instant lasts for memories as long as you’re the one I see
I love the way you’ll always be

The future we once had together
When we always had forever
The future we could hold in time
When nothing couldn’t be more fine
The future we once had together

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Better blurred...

Taking a picture
Can’t you back up?
It’s not that the camera won’t focus
The farther you’re away
It seems the better that you look
Maybe it’s some magic hocus pocus

Years after tomorrow
Turning off the light
You can be here but please don’t be seen
The memory’s enough
And the conversation’s rough
It’s not something subtle where you slip the message in between

You know, you’re better when you blur
And the world begins to whir
And the pictures start to stir
It isn’t not the way you were
It’s just that you’re better when you blur

Standing in the night
In the passing cars tail lights
I know full well you’re standing just behind me
But with every due regret
But without the hesitation
It would be nicer if nobody would remind me

You know, you’re better when you blur
And the world begins to whir
And the pictures start to stir
It isn’t not the way you were
It’s just that you’re better when you blur

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Amber Rubarth, the girl over there…

The plan was to see Paul Thorn perform at The Coach House in San Juan Capistrano, basically a night I wouldn’t normally write about.

Sean and I reached The Coach House early, of course. Sean’s idea of “on time” is five months early. So, we had some waiting to do. As I stood out there and smoked, this girl over on the other side of the lot, this frail looking waif, nondescript in the afterwork hours of my life, got out of a small car and carried in a guitar.

“She must be with the band,” Sean said.

I would have spent the rest of my life without a thought of her – but when she walked up onto the stage as Paul Thorn’s first opening act any chance of that happening ended.

As anyone, I don’t listen to women’s music – which is to say music by women. With the exception of “Be careful baby, be careful” by Dory Previn, no woman has every really touched me with her music.

And then, this amazement of a person walked onto the stage. A little much? Maybe. But there’s no way to explain how one person touches another. It’s love in a way, and there’s no explaining it.

Her name is Amber Rubarth. I’m telling you, she’s something uniquely special. You can find her on YouTube, iTunes, all over. I am listening to her second disk, Unfinished Art – Handmade Edition, right now.

You Will Love This Song...

Even more Amber Rubarth...

WASHING DAY - Amber Rubarth Music Video

Amber Rubarth... more on her later...

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Sit back and enjoy the finale…

Unless I miss my guess, I am now three-quarters of the way through this book. If all goes as planned, I should write another 25,000 words or so. Normally, under these circumstances, I sit back and watch the show unfold. I’ve laid the groundwork; I know where I’m going. Time to enjoy the finale.

… er, maybe?

Here’s the thing. I start school in – let’s see – twelve days! Yikes! That’s also only nine working days. Now, to get this book done in that time, I’ll need to write, ewwww, nearly 3,000 words each day. That ain’t gonna happen. But I should still have it done shortly thereafter. Good thing, too, because my first class is “Argumentation & Writing” and that might take a little brain power.

Oh, there’s one other reason why this one might not be so easy.

I don’t know how it ends.

Yep, this is a first for me. I can usually lay this shit out in my head with little or no problem. Rarely, if ever, do I write an outline. I use my training as an actor and let the character drive the story, keeping events and things fluid. But that’s what has caused my problem here. You see, my original ending has become irrelevant because of the characters… but has remained necessary because of the story. (Don’t believe anyone who tells you writing is easy… or that writers are perfectly normal.)

So, what do I do? As odd as this might sound, I just keep going. I let the characters do what they do and intercede when necessary to keep the story moving in the right direction. But enjoying it is certainly not on the menu. I just want to get it finished!

Thought it probably goes without saying, I am looking forward to finishing the book because it will be my last one for a while. Face it, kids, I’ve got books to sell. I am not at a loss for material. I need to focus on those a bit and hope to sell. As for what I’ll do with my free time at work without anything to write, well, I’ll have schoolwork and I think I’ll start bringing some music to listen to here in my office… let’s see if I lose my mind after a few months of that.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

A moment for Dem…s…

Vicky and I watched the AFL-CIO Democratic Forum last night…

… yes, people do that.

I wanted to watch it because I grew up the child of a union member and I know how much they helped us. So, I’ve always been strongly pro-union. Vicky watched it because… well, there was no way I was turning the channel, so…

I thought I’d say a word or two about what went on, just off the top of my head. I normally come across very anti-Republican, which I am, but I don’t want you to think that makes me pro-Democrat, either. I left the Democratic party for reasons that still exist and when they start caring more about people than political gain, I’ll rejoin the party. Sure, Dems won’t slice up your mom and fuck the pieces for fun, like Republicans… but they’ll think about it if it’ll get them in office.

The Forum was moderated by Keith Olbermann, another reason I had to watch it, and attended by all the Democratic hopefuls. They’d lost one guy, Mike Gravel, and it’s sad to see him gone. He was one of the few honest people in the field. He might not think he’s gone but… he’s gone. So, let’s go through the candidates one by one…

Hillary. Let’s start with the apparent front-runner. She’s certainly behaving like the front-runner, tactfully interceding in in-fights, doling out presidential wisdom. But here’s the thing. She can’t win the Presidential election. If she becomes the Democratic Candidate, it will be about the presidential erection. I’m not saying that’s a good thing; in fact, it sucks. But that’s how Republicans play and we know that.

Obama. Where to start? I can’t begin to guess why he is so loathed by Republicans – you know, aside from being a wise black man, something can no more understand than a moral gay man. Yes, they exist, too. I wish he’d done better last night but he’s too easy put on defense and doesn’t have his talking points down. Does he have time for that? Ordinarily, sure. But not when the primary season begins this early. He needs to get strong NOW. He could be a great president… but, again, nobody’s going to vote for him. Why? Because America does not elect a black man. Call me cynical but it’s true and the Repugs are going to get repugnant and we know that.

Edwards. The perfect vice-president. I’m sure he’s a good man. I’m sure he’s a worthy man. I’m sure he’d do a fine job. But he was a vice-presidential candidate and they just don’t win after that. I’m talking about vice-presidential candidates here, not former vice-presidents. (More on that later.)

Biden. His hour was up in 1988. Sorry. I think he’s worked hard for the country but this isn’t a job you get because you deserve it. He’s an effective Senator and he should stay there.

Dodd. Dodd sounds odd, and too much like "doddering"… as in “old fool”. Just like you don’t name your son, Bate, Dick, or Booger, you have to be careful about who you nominate.

Richardson. Good name… can someone shut him the hell up? This guy stuck to his time ONCE in the whole night. He’s fucking annoying. Shut him the hell up!!!

Kucinich. Probably the only Democrat running. Here’s a man with brains, with honor, with integrity, and with the right answers. A good man with a good heart, well spoken and ready to take on any challenge that comes his way. Too bad nobody’s going to vote for him because he’s short.

… which leaves us with… nobody.

Well, maybe not nobody. Maybe Al Gore will get off his whiny, little ass and step up! Maybe he’ll realize that this is his last chance to fucking help the country out of the horrible quagmire the guy who stole his job got us into. He could win on a weekend. He could nominate Obama as his VP, so Obama is ready to sweep it in eight years. Maybe he’ll fucking do that!

But he better not nominate Leiberman again or, so help me, I will fucking sock him! (Which means I will grind him down until his remains fit in a four year old's sock.)

Yeah. And maybe we should start getting our moms ready for the Republicans…

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

A week off…

Yep, it’s my turn to be lazy.

LAZY…

I’ve been hitting the gym pretty regularly for a while – not that you could tell – and I’ve decided to give myself a week off. Yep, now it’s time for me to kick my shoes off, put my feet up, and enjoy the fruits of my labor.

Tonight, for instance, I’m cleaning the patio.

… wait a minute.

And, on Thursday and Friday, I’m working late.

… hold on!

Somehow, that just doesn’t seem quite right.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Let's Support The Troops... because we have no choice...

I think we can safely say that A Whitney Brown is now THE Whitney Brown.

Supplying the Iraqi insurgency... so you don't have to...

How anyone can defend our mess in Iraq at this point is just beyond me, especially with what we know today.

Turns out the US has been supplying the Iraqis we're trying so desperately to kill. Nice of us, huh? But then, if we didn't, we wouldn't have any boogymen to require warrantless wiretaping and other violations of our constitutional rights, right?

Another way to be a Pinko...

I've been researching reusable water bottles for Ken and I to use (to replace our plastic bottled water habit) and we found Sigg water bottles. Yet another way for us to be wacky liberals.

We also try to use cloth shopping bags, reuse bags, or just request not to have a plastic bag when we can (this usually requires one of us to remember to bring our shopping bags, which we forget to do sometimes). I came across this website with lots of alternatives to plastic products.

We also found some new body wash, hand soap and cleaning products...Method. This stuff is non-toxic and nearly 100% natural (and you can buy it at Target). I'm trying the body wash to see how I like it. Oh and bonus for all you patriotic types out there, it is Made in USA....so it also supports the domestic economy.

So, give it a try...what have you got to lose?

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Nickel and Dimed from The American Ruling Class

Prosperity does not mean crushing those with less. This video talks about the boom years - and things have only become worse since.

Barbara Ehrenreich is featured in this musical excerpt from The American Ruling Class, a "dramatic-documentary-musical" starring Harper's Magazine editor emeritus Lewis Lapham.

World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King

Yeah. Oh yeah.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Life is but a schoolyard…

Okay, so is it just me or is Shrub’s insistence on having his own meeting on global warming, just after the UN meeting he refuses to be a part of, like 4th grade revisited?

“I don’t need you and your uppity Younewtered Nations. I’ll have my own meeting about the myth of global warming and it’ll have a piñata and a swimmen pool and ice cream and two – no three – cakes!”

New ethic…

Is it okay to lie? Apparently so, since Shrub didn’t think Libby should be punished for doing so.

Is it okay to kill? Yes, and the more innocent the better, since Shrub decided killing Iraqis was more important that killing those he blamed for 9/11.

Is it okay to plunder the environment? Yes, or so Shrub leads us to believe with his windfalls to oil companies.

Is it okay to tell the truth. No. That’s against the law.

Anniversary…

No, you didn’t read that wrong. I know my wedding anniversary isn’t until 9/24 (Vicky actually forgot it once – TRUE STORY!) but you have to get a jump on these things.

This being my second time around, I thought I would follow the official TRADITIONAL ANNIVERSARY GIFT schedule. You know, paper the first year, cotton the second, lint the third, a rock the fourth – things like that.

I know. I know. Most women would prefer you follow the modern gift schedule, which looks a lot like:

Year One: Diamond
Year Two: Luxury Car
Year Three: Diamond
Year Four: Luxury Yacht
Year Five: Another mother fucking Diamond, bitch, and it better be an FL!
Year Six: Your Liver

Nope. I’m making my marriage with Vicky traditional… mostly. Sure, I wrote her a love letter last year (with earrings). This year, I want to find some beautiful, cotton… something. No, not a cotton ball – that’s too obvious. I just need to look around. But the idea is to sneak in something non-traditional with the traditional. That’s why the love letter came with earrings and why the cotton something this year will come with… ah! But that would be telling!

Mind you, it gets difficult to plan this stuff when Vicky has access to my bank account – that’s right, guys, I trust her. She can poke her nose in at any time and see that I spent a couple hundred bucks at Nordstrom, thus ruining the surprise.

I haven’t figured that part out, just yet. The problem with being totally open with my wife is that it makes it nearly impossible to surprise her!

On the other hand, when she sees that all I have is $82, it makes it a whole lot harder to think I’m buying her another diamond!

One other thing about these anniversary gift schedules, is that they start to break down after year 16. I guess that’s about the same time you get sick of buying her another fucking gift. The best part about that is that year 16’s gift is – ready for it? – tungsten. Tungsten! I guess the perfect gift that year is a high-grade motor oil! They have to wait four more years for their next present: China!

… Actually, at that point, the modern schedule’s annual diamond ain’t that bad. I mean, how much is China going for these days?

After that, you only give the wife a gift every 5-10 years! What a deal!

But I don’t really think I need to worry. After year 5, when the present is bronze, or year 10, when the present is aluminium, or year 14, when the present is Ivory and there ain’t no way in hell I’m going to be responsible for the death of yet another elephant – or, worse yet, there’s no such thing as Ivory because all the elephants are dead – I think Vicky’s going to perform a “gift intervention” and just ask for me to clean the toilets… which, at once a year, would probably be more often than I do it now…

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Every sixty seconds, a minute passes – COINCIDENCE????

Welcome to Blank Mind. I’m your host… uhhhhh…..

Seriously, I’ve got nothing at all to say – WAIT! Come back! I’ll think of something!

Think – think…


I had a first at work today. (No, not that.) I launched a website without having to ask anyone’s permission. I walked into my manager’s office and, before I could describe it, he said, “Okay, have the web guys put it up.” I was all “Whaaaa???”

I thought I’d try on that “I was all”. Some people try on socks. I try on slang. Cause, I mean, what the fuck is with you people and socks, anyway?!

I’ve drafted three marketing campaigns this week, and we haven’t even hit Friday. Yes, I’m Mister Big-Wig, Supra-Important, Underpaid, When’s-That-Review-Coming-Anyway Man… dammit…

But I gotta keep in mind the benefits, which are…. uhhhhh…. Oh, yeah! I remember now! The writing! I’ve finished 2/3 of the new book and am nearing the home stretch. When you write as fast as I do, even your most dedicated reader can’t keep up. (Actually, I only have one reader… I’m a very sad person…) So, it’s a good thing I’ll be starting school in three weeks! Three weeks – actually about 18 days to go. Let’s see… 18 days… divided by 33,000 words… um, that’s nearly 2000 words I’ll have to write each day – including weekends – I’ll never finish this on time!

Again, good thing I can write at work. Oh, I’ll finish it. Don’t worry… anyone…

Vicky watched Napoleon Dynamite this weekend. While not the worst movie of all time (Tom Cruise wasn’t in it), it was easily the most tedious. Did anyone really like it?

Ghaaa! Idiots! (Vicky loves my new ND impression. I’ve never knows an easier way to make her laugh. Granted, she laughing at what a doofus I am, but I can handle that.)

And… that’s about it. Looks like my days of daily blogging are just about over (famous last words) but you never know. Something interesting might happen…

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

You Too Can Be a Pinko!...

In our continuing effort to attract hateful comments from the right, Vicky found this great shopping site to help us all be more socially aware... and I'm posting it.

(You see? We're still do this together!)

Enjoy!